Sunday, April 28, 2013

Photo finish weekend on the great Catskill Streams

I'd love to be able to put into words the fly fishing weekend that I just experienced with my brother-in-law but I don't think I'd do it any kind of justice.  It was comprised of two die-hards, fishing sun up to sun down and beating a path to and from probably a dozen locations on three Catskill Streams.  There was good food and great beer.  There was not enough sleep and leaky waders.  There were personal best trout caught on the fly and...didn't I just type that I can't put it into words??  I'll shut up now.

Off we go.  Friday. Post work and on the road!!

First stop was Catskill Flies on Stewart Ave in Roscoe for some timely advice from Walt and Dennis.

Creekside Cabins.  These folks run a great setup.  Beautiful stretch of the Willowemoc right outside our back door.  We wasted no time and my partner hooked up and netted a nice Brown quickly.  Check out the talon markings.  This was one tough fish!

I'd have to wait to connect early the next morning but these Amber Ales from Roscoe Beer Company hit the spot at dusk on the Willow.  This is a new brewer and I've been looking forward to these suds for over a year.  Well worth the wait.  This was the beverage of choice along our journeys this weekend.  I even found a big bottle cap!!  If you get the chance, I highly recommend this tasty brew.

This feisty little speckled Trout broke the ice for me at 5:25 on Saturday morning while swinging a streamer. Speaking of ice, it would riddle our guides and freeze up our reels for the better part of Saturday morning!  It was time for some hot coffee and bacon at the Famous Roscoe Diner!  What a great tradition.

We fished a few of the famous pools on the Beaverkill on Saturday with a good deal of success but Barnhart's Pool was magic for me.  This 18" Rainbow is my personal best and was taken on a size 14 Pheasant Tail.  I was fishing a double nymph rig with the PT on top and a Hare's Ear (go figure) dropped off on 6X tippet.  The fish fought like hell and my right leg was actually shaking!  I was hoping he wasn't on the 6X and, thankfully, he wasn't.  I was fishing far from my cohort so this is the only pic I could snap before a safe release.  I couldn't believe I had taken such a slab.  It was a great feeling of accomplishment for me as I have really been doing my homework this winter and hoping for results like these.                                            

My brother in law has also been a fine student of the fly this winter.  His work paid him off in even larger dividends on the East Branch of the Delaware River later that afternoon.  We got no official measurement on this slab but we didn't need one.  This was a hell of a fish!! 

Catching these fish was just a bonus to the weekend.  There were so many other things to take note of.  Simple beauty was easy to find everywhere you looked. 

My Dad used to say that all the time.  "Catching fish is just a bonus."  What a great lesson he taught me.  I made it a point to pass by the old Hansel and Gretel Cabins, long shut down, that started this fishing journey for me more than 25 years ago.  You can see that there are only a couple of cabins remaining and a couple of concrete slabs where others once stood.  The trees are cut down to stumps and there are "No Trespassing" signs all up and down the driveway.  I'm not sure what they are doing here but that water behind those cabins, no doubt, holds ghosts from the past.  I am glad I got to see this sight, different as it is, because it seems it won't be there much longer.

All said and done we had what both of us considered to be the greatest fishing experience we've had to this point.  Looking forward to the next one.  In the meantime, "THANKS FOR VISITING".

Lastly, even though we always want to fish some more, at some point, we have to take the bear's advice:


  1. Very cool mike, i was up in Big Indian this past weekend. I wish i could have fished but lack of time! Awesome trip report and great pictures.

  2. Mike, you've arrived! Roscoe is my favorite place in the world to fly fish. Every bit deserving of "Trout Town USA". Glad you hooked up on this historic water and became part of Beaverkill lore. You'll never be the same! Keep up the good work. -Tom

  3. Thank you for using my Go Home bear in this article. Perfect timing to be at my favorite everyday breakfast spot, the Roscoe Diner! Dan Frisbie

  4. @John and Tom, thanks so much! It was a very validating experience!

    @Dan, that bear is great! I couldn't resist. I saw it there Sunday morning as well. I guess you really do eat there everyday! I can't blame you!

  5. Mike, what an awesome trip. Love all the photos. And that rainbow- congrats!

  6. Chris--thanks! He really put up an awesome fight. I was hooting it up after the release lol...what a rush.

  7. Just simply amazing. Great times you guys make it look easy! Congrats you both deserve it.

  8. Thanks Manny! One of these days we will get you up to the Catskills and you will outfish us both!

  9. Can someone please tell me where exactly the old Hansel and Gretel cabins are?? My father took us out there every summer and I'd love to see the old place....Thanks!

    1. Hi and thanks for the comment. The old cabins, and as you can see there isn't much left of them, are along Old Rt. 17. They are fairly far west from Roscoe (I'd guess a twenty minute ride) but if you follow the Beaverkill and the old route you will find it.

      The place provides great memories for me as well.

      Thanks for stopping by!


    2. Thanks so much for getting back to me. Is it before Hancock? Are there any signs for it? I'd love to see that old place. The last time I was there was about 31 or 32 years ago as a kid, but I have such vivid memories of it. Many is the trout we fished from there.


  10. My pleasure. My best guess is somewhere between Cooks Fall and Horton west of Roscoe by a stretch. If you remember, the cabins are down a steep driveway on the left and on top of that driveway sits an old pub type restaurant. I remember having to drive on old 17 west for a stretch, then going under the existing 17 (the new 86) for a while before Hansel and Gretel appearing. Next time I am up that way, I will keep an eye out. In the meantime, if you find yourself up there, report back to us. Thanks for reading!